How Heavy Marijuana Use Hurts Finances, Social Life

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A study links long-term, heavy pot consumption to a reduced standard of living by the time a person reaches midlife.

So much for the argument that marijuana is “safer” than alcohol.

While there may be truth to that notion when it comes to health, new research suggests that marijuana can be detrimental when it comes to social mobility and finances.

Specifically, a study published online this week in the journal “Clinical Psychological Science” found that when compared with people who do not regularly smoke marijuana, heavy marijuana users:

  • End up in a lower social class than their parents.
  • Work lower-paying, less skilled and less prestigious jobs.
  • Experience more financial problems like debt and cash flow issues.
  • Have more work-related and relationship difficulties.

These heavy users smoked cannabis four or more days of the week over many years.

Researcher Terrie Moffitt, a psychologist with dual appointments at Duke University and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, states in a news release from the UC Davis Health System:

“Cannabis may be safer than alcohol for your health, but not for your finances.”

The study was conducted by a team of international researchers who followed a group of people in New Zealand from birth (in either 1972 or 1973) to age 38.

The differences between the heavy marijuana users and irregular users persisted despite accounting for other potential differences, including:

  • Socioeconomic problems in childhood
  • Lower IQ
  • Antisocial behavior and depression in adolescence
  • Higher levels of impulsivity
  • Lower motivation to achieve
  • Criminal conviction of cannabis users
  • Abuse of alcohol and hard drugs

Lead study author Magdalena Cerdá, an epidemiologist at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, states in the UC Davis Health System news release:

“Regardless of how we looked at the relationship between persistent, regular cannabis use and economic and social problems, we got the same results.”

What’s your take on these findings? Share your thoughts in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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